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Beamer, Fuller bowl over TJ in football opener, 49-14
The season couldnt have started better for the Todd Beamer Titans and their new coach, Gem Abe.
The Titans jumped all over the Thomas Jefferson Raiders in the opening half at Federal Way Memorial Stadium on Friday night and cruised to a 49-14 win. It was Abes first game as the head coach at Beamer.
He took over last year for Hall of Fame coach Dick Zatkovich, who resigned for personal reasons after just one season at the helm of the Titan program.
Abe had worked as an assistant for Zatkovich, who won a state championship at Lakes High School in 1997, for several seasons.
Beamer tallied two touchdowns in the first three minutes of play Friday night to take all the wind out of the Raiders. The first score came on a 21-yard fumble return for a touchdown from freshman linebacker Nicky Faulaau.
The turnover came on a fourth-down try by TJ and Faulaau stripped the ball out of the ball carriers hands and rumbled into the endzone.
The Titans made it 14-0 after Jefferson fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The short drive culminated in a 1-yard run by senior running back Justin Lee.
After the opening three-minute blitz, the game turned into the Larmardray Fuller show.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound tailback finished with a school record 307 yards rushing on just 24 carries. Included in that total were touchdown runs of 44 and 97 yards.
Fullers first touchdown run came with 2:48 left in the first quarter after the first of Cory Obungens two interceptions.
His 97-yarder was even more impressive. After the Titans were backed up on their own 3-yard line, Fuller took a simple handoff from Beamer quarterback Christian Cooper up the middle and bounced out to the right sideline, then simply outran the TJ defense down the field. The run gave the Titans a 28-0 lead with 3:24 left in the opening half.
Beamer added a safety when the Raiders snapped a punt over the head of the punter and into the endzone, then a 23-yard touchdown pass from Cooper to senior wide receiver Josh Waller.
The Waller touchdown came on a screen over the middle of the TJ defense with just 12.6 seconds remaining in the second quarter to put the Titans up 37-0 heading into the locker room.
Beamer added a pair of touchdowns in the second half on a 19-yard Waller touchdown catch and a 1-yard run by Cooper to take a 49-0 lead.
The Raiders scored their only points of the night in the fourth quarter on a pair of touchdown catches by Bryant Cameron. Camerons scores came on catches of 39 yards and 19 yards from senior quarterback Taylor Stark.
Cooper had an efficient showing, completing 7 of 11 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the first start of his career.
The Titans will play their second consecutive game against a Federal Way School District opponent Friday night when they take on the Decatur Gators at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
The Gators also gave their first-year coach a win in his opener last weekend. Decatur rolled over Class 3A White River, 28-13, in a non-league game to give Leon Hatch his first Gator win Saturday night.
Beamer will have to stop Chase King to have a chance at moving to 2-0. King torched the White River defense for 196 yards on 25 carries, including a 60-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to ice the game.
Jefferson hopes to get back on track Thursday night against the Spanaway Lake Sentinels in another non-league match up. Spanaway Lake was beaten 21-6 by the Tahoma Bears last weekend.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org